Poker is a card game in which players bet on the value of their hands of five cards. The bets form a pot that is claimed by the player who holds the best hand at showdown. Bets may be placed by a single player or by a group of players acting collectively. Players may also bluff, inducing other players to call their bets despite not having superior hands. A knowledgeable player will make money in the long run even if the mathematical variance of individual hands occasionally results in short-term losses.

A poker game can be played with any number of players, but the ideal number is six to eight people. Each player places an ante, or a sum of chips that is matched by the dealer, before they are dealt two cards. Then a round of betting takes place, during which players can raise or re-raise. Depending on the rules of the game, players can discard their cards and draw replacements after each betting round.

When it’s your turn, you can say “call” or “I call” to match the last bet made by the person to your left. You should only play a hand that you feel good about. If your cards aren’t great and you don’t want to bet much, say “sit out this one.”

During the course of a poker game, players may create a fund called a kitty, which is used to pay for new decks of cards and drinks. Any chips left in the kitty when a hand is over are then divided equally among the players who remain in the game.